NFL News & Analysis

Grading all 31 first-round picks after Week 4 of the 2023 NFL season

2RYT9ND Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Anton Harrison (77) in action during an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Atlanta Falcons 23-7. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

• Eagles' Jalen Carter continues to make an early DROY case: He racked up five pressures against Washington en route to a 73.9 overall grade, and his 92.2 season-long grade leads all defensive tackles.

• Jaguars' Anton Harrison steps up in best performance yet: The tackle earned a 75.4 pass-blocking grade after not allowing any pressure across 38 such snaps.

• It's never too early to gear up for the 2024 NFL Draft: PFF has you covered throughout the college football season. Click here for our 2024 big board.

Estimated Reading Time: 12 minutes

Roughly a quarter of the way through the NFL season, several 2023 first-rounders are standing out. We’ll continue to identify their principal opponents and break down their performances weekly.

Pick No. 1: Carolina Panthers: QB Bryce Young

Overall Rookie Grade: 46.9 (Rank: 3/5)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 72
Week 4 Grade: 62.6

Young had his best day as a pro in Week 4, putting up a 64.1 passing grade. He threw several darts over the middle of the field but also cost Carolina a lead when he was late to see a blitzer, fumbling as a result. On a positive note, Young was much more decisive in the game, shaving his time-to-throw average from roughly 3.2 seconds to a swift 2.43 seconds. This renewed urgency should help Young as he moves forward.

Pick No. 2: Houston Texans: QB C.J. Stroud

Overall Rookie Grade: 73.3 (Rank: 1/5)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 71
Week 4 Grade: 79.7

Stroud was excellent against a good Steelers defense. His 79.7 overall grade ranked seventh in the NFL this past week, and he was the only starting quarterback who did not take a sack. He’s now thrown multiple touchdowns in three straight games. Stroud continued to excel from the pocket despite Houston missing four offensive linemen in Week 4. His 90.8 overall grade from clean pockets ranks behind only Tua Tagovailoa.

Rookie QB Grades | Week 4, 2023
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Pick No. 3: Houston Texans: Edge Will Anderson Jr.

Overall Rookie Grade: 76.7 (Rank: 1/13)
Principal Opponent: Chukwuma Okorafor
Week 4 Snaps: 36
Week 4 Grade: 72.9

Anderson continues to prove himself as a foundational piece for Houston. He’s picked up multiple pressures in every game so far and has yet to miss a tackle. He’s Houston’s best pass-rusher and would be squarely in the race for Defensive Rookie of the Year if not for Jalen Carter’s freaky performance so far in Philadelphia.

Pick No. 4: Indianapolis Colts: QB Anthony Richardson

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.9 (Rank: 2/5)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 64
Week 4 Grade: 54.3

For the first time this season, Anthony Richardson started and finished a game. Richardson showed poor accuracy, completing just 11 of his 25 passes, but nearly brought the Colts back from a 23-point deficit. He also rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries but fumbled twice in the process. The Colts will continue to ride the rollercoaster as Richardson develops a feel for the NFL.

Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks: CB Devon Witherspoon

Overall Rookie Grade: 79.7 (2/15)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 75
Week 4 Grade: 90.9

It's difficult to succinctly describe everything Witherspoon accomplished on Monday Night Football. For starters, he returned an interception for a score, recorded two sacks and allowed a 44.8 passer rating into his coverage. He is the second-highest-graded cornerback of Week 4.

Pick No. 6: Arizona Cardinals: OT Paris Johnson Jr.

Overall Rookie Grade: 54.8 (Rank: 4/5)
Principal Opponent: Nick Bosa
Week 4 Snaps: 71
Week 4 Grade: 60.8

Johnson had a brutal assignment as the primary opponent of Nick Bosa this week. He survived, though, as evidenced by his near-average 58.8 pass-blocking grade. Johnson allowed just one pressure but was beaten seven other times in pass protection, one of which included a holding penalty committed against Bosa. He can breathe a little easier now that he’s through facing Micah Parsons and Bosa in back-to-back weeks.

Pick No. 7: Las Vegas Raiders: Edge Tyree Wilson

Overall Rookie Grade: 37.7 (Rank: 13/13)
Principal Opponent: Rashawn Slater
Week 4 Snaps: 29
Week 4 Grade: 52.0

Wilson had his first game with multiple pressures and earned a season-high 67.1 run-defense grade. His biggest blemish was a penalty for illegal hands to the face. Willson has struggled, but it’s a good sign that he has improved over the past two weeks. He’ll get better as he continues to learn how to use his freakish length to his advantage.

Pick No. 8: Atlanta Falcons: RB Bijan Robinson

Overall Rookie Grade: 75.6 (Rank: 3/9)
Principal Opponent: Foyesade Oluokun
Week 4 Snaps: 44
Week 4 Grade: 65.6

Robinson continues to be Atlanta’s best skill player. While the rest of his team struggled, Robinson collected 137 total yards on 19 touches. Through four weeks, his 82.2 rushing grade ranks fourth best in the NFL and his 11 explosive runs ranks second behind Christian McCaffrey. The Falcons continue to face loaded boxes and need to find ways to create space for Robinson.

Pick No. 9: Philadelphia Eagles: DI Jalen Carter

Overall Rookie Grade: 92.2 (Rank: 1/12)
Principal Opponent: Saahdiq Charles
Week 4 Snaps: 36
Week 4 Grade: 73.9

Another week, another excellent performance from Carter. He racked up five pressures against Washington en route to a 73.9 overall grade. His 92.2 season-long grade leads all defensive tackles. His performance so far has been record-setting, and he is one of the best players in the NFL right now —the clear favorite for Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Highest-Graded Interior Defenders | 2023
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Pick No. 10: Chicago Bears: OT Darnell Wright

Overall Rookie Grade: 65.9 (Rank: 1/5)
Principal Opponent: Nik Bonitto
Week 4 Snaps: 72
Week 4 Grade: 60.5

Outside of two penalties that dragged his overall grade down, Wright was solid this week. This was his first outing with 65.0-plus grades in both run blocking and pass protection. He allowed a sack and a hit, the latter of which was on a Hail Mary attempt. Chicago picked up nearly 6.4 yards per carry when running to the right side in Week 4. Wright’s development continues to be a rare bright spot for the team.

Pick No. 11: Tennessee Titans: G Peter Skoronski

Overall Rookie Grade: 81.3 (Rank: 1/11)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 0
Week 4 Grade: N/A

Skoronski did not play in Week 4 due to injury.

Pick No. 12: Detroit Lions: RB Jahmyr Gibbs

Overall Rookie Grade: 62.1 (Rank: 7/9)
Principal Opponent: Quay Walker
Week 4 Snaps: 28
Week 4 Grade: 59.5

With a big lead in hand, the Lions leaned heavily on David Montgomery on Thursday Night Football. Jahmyr Gibbs produced a season-low 51 total yards on 12 touches. Montgomery will continue to get most of the work between the tackles and in the red zone, so Gibbs' production may be tied to the flow of each game.

Pick No. 13: Green Bay Packers: EDGE Lukas Van Ness

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.5 (Rank: 8/13)
Principal Opponent: Taylor Decker
Week 4 Snaps: 37
Week 4 Grade: 46.1

Van Ness played a career-high 37 snaps yet posted a career-low 46.1 overall grade. He was held without a pressure for the third straight game after recording five in Week 1. Though unblocked, he did have a nice run stop on fellow rookie Jahmyr Gibbs. Rashan Gary continues to get limited work as he recovers from his knee injury, but Van Ness hasn’t fully taken advantage of his increased workload.

Pick No. 14: Pittsburgh Steelers: OT Broderick Jones

Overall Rookie Grade: 55.0 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Jonathan Greenard
Week 4 Snaps: 51
Week 4 Grade: 53.0

Jones saw his first significant action of the season after starting left tackle Dan Moore Jr. suffered an injury early in Week 4. As was the case for his team, Jones had a rough day. He allowed three pressures and was beaten in pass protection four other times, leading to a 39.9 pass-blocking grade on the day. He struggled to contain Jonathan Greenard’s quickness and was beaten a couple of times on stunts. He could start next week, but Jones’ first real NFL action came with a lot of turbulence.

Pick No. 15: New York Jets: Edge Will McDonald IV

Overall Rookie Grade: 64.0 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Jawaan Taylor
Week 4 Snaps: 12
Week 4 Grade: 57.7

McDonald again saw light work amid a deep defensive front. He came away with a singular pass-rush win on seven pass-rush snaps and finished with a 57.7 overall grade.

Pick No. 16: Washington Commanders: CB Emmanuel Forbes

Overall Rookie Grade: 42.4 (Rank: 15/15)
Principal Opponent: A.J. Brown
Week 4 Snaps: 65
Week 4 Grade: 41.6

Forbes was picked on heavily by A.J. Brown and the Eagles, giving up a league-high 197 yards and two touchdowns this week in coverage. Two tough weeks have dropped Forbes' overall grade to 42.4, the fifth worst in the NFL. He’ll have easier matchups against Chicago, Atlanta and the Giants over the next few weeks, but he’ll continue to be the opposing offense's primary target moving forward.

Pick No. 17: New England Patriots: CB Christian Gonzalez

Overall Rookie Grade: 80.8 (Rank: 1/15)
Principal Opponent: Michael Gallup
Week 4 Snaps: 18
Week 4 Grade: 49.9

Gonzalez exited Week 4 early with a shoulder injury, finishing with one catch allowed for nine yards. Gonzalez will miss time but is off to a stellar start to his career with an 80.8 overall grade that ranks seventh best in the NFL.

Rookie CB Grades | 2023
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Pick No. 18: Detroit Lions: LB Jack Campbell

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.1 (Rank: 3/4)
Principal Opponent: Zach Tom
Week 4 Snaps: 35
Week 4 Grade: 46.9

For the second week in a row, the Lions deployed Campbell as an edge player primarily. He finished the game with a team-low 46.9 defensive grade and seems to be struggling to adapt to the new hybrid role. Campbell was lauded for his coverage skills at Iowa, but his 45.6 coverage grade is the third worst among qualified linebackers.

Pick No. 19: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DI Calijah Kancey

Overall Rookie Grade: 59.2 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: N/A
Week 4 Snaps: 0
Week 4 Grade: N/A

Kancey did not play in Week 4 due to injury.

Pick No. 20: Seattle Seahawks: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Overall Rookie Grade: 50.3 (14/14)
Principal Opponent: Cor'Dale Flott
Week 4 Snaps: 29
Week 4 Grade: 48.1

Smith-Njigba saw five targets but again had a quiet outing. He finished with only five receiving yards on three catches, recording more yards after the catch than actual yards. He also dropped a well-placed pass from Drew Lock on a roll-out.

Pick No. 21: Los Angeles Chargers: WR Quentin Johnston

Overall Rookie Grade: 60.3 (Rank: 11/14)
Principal Opponent: David Long Jr.
Week 4 Snaps: 33
Week 4 Grade: 65.9

Mike Williams’ injury should open up opportunities for Johnston to produce. Unfortunately, Johnston caught just one pass for 18 yards against Las Vegas. Despite his size and speed, Johnston is struggling to separate, especially against press coverage. The fact that three of his six catches on the year are screen passes may be a sign that he has a long way to go in his development.

Pick No. 22: Baltimore Ravens: WR Zay Flowers

Overall Rookie Grade: 75.5 (Rank: 4/14)
Principal Opponent: Martin Emerson
Week 4 Snaps: 57
Week 4 Grade: 71.6

It was a Mark Andrews day for the Ravens, but Zay Flowers continues to be the team's best wide receiver. Flowers collected three catches for 56 yards, including 43 on a terrific scramble drill adjustment. Baltimore has seen a ton of injuries to its receiving corps so far, but Flowers continues to make an impact every week.

Pick No. 23: Minnesota Vikings: WR Jordan Addison

Overall Rookie Grade: 61.4 (Rank: 10/14)
Principal Opponent: CJ Henderson
Week 4 Snaps: 28
Week 4 Grade: 45.5

Addison was shut out this week as Kirk Cousins struggled against the Panthers. As a result of the Vikings attempting only 19 passes, Addison was targeted just once officially. That lone target involved Cousins being hit as he threw an interception. Addison did draw a long pass interference call that, once again, showcased his ability to threaten defenses down the seam. The Vikings' best stretches on offense have involved Addison, so they should keep finding ways to get him the ball.

Pick No. 24: New York Giants: CB Deonte Banks

Overall Rookie Grade: 56.9 (10/15)
Principal Opponent: D.K. Metcalf
Week 4 Snaps: 55
Week 4 Grade: 61.0

The Giants tasked Banks with shadowing D.K. Metcalf, and he held up relatively well, all things considered. Metcalf managed 34 receiving yards and a touchdown against the rookie, who seemed to have good coverage on the score but was fooled by Metcalf's late hands. Banks added two stops in run defense.

Pick No. 25: Buffalo Bills: TE Dalton Kincaid

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.4 (Rank: 3/3)
Principal Opponent: Jerome Baker
Week 4 Snaps: 30
Week 4 Grade: 66.0

While at Utah, Kincaid developed a reputation for threatening defenses up the seam. The Bills haven’t deployed him in such a manner yet. Kincaid’s 23 receiving snaps in Week 4 were tied for second on the team, but he came away with four catches for just 27 yards. He has yet to make an explosive (15-plus yards) reception through four games. Fourteen of his 15 catches are on hitches, out routes or screens. There’s a case to be made that Buffalo isn’t deploying Kincaid properly.

Pick No. 26: Dallas Cowboys: DI Mazi Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.5 (Rank: 8/12)
Principal Opponent: Mike Onwenu
Week 4 Snaps: 17
Week 4 Grade: 42.2

Smith saw limited work again this week and struggled. He earned a 34.3 run-defense grade on just nine run-defense snaps. Smith is struggling to consistently shed blocks and has made just one run stop all season. On the bright side, he picked up two pass-rush wins across his eight reps in that facet.

Pick No. 27: Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Anton Harrison

Overall Rookie Grade: 58.4 (Rank: 2/5)
Principal Opponent: Calais Campbell
Week 4 Snaps: 66
Week 4 Grade: 70.1

Harrison put together his best game in pass protection as a pro in Week 4, posting a 75.4 pass-blocking grade. He didn’t allow any pressure and was beaten just once on 38 snaps. Through the first three weeks, Harrison’s 28.7 grade on true pass sets was the worst in the NFL among qualified right tackles. This week’s 64.3 true pass set grade is a major step forward for a team that needs its supporting cast to step up.

Rookie OT Grades | Week 4, 2023
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Pick No. 28: Cincinnati Bengals: Edge Myles Murphy

Overall Rookie Grade: 53.6 (Rank: 10/13)
Principal Opponent: Chris Hubbard
Week 4 Snaps: 19
Week 4 Grade: 38.9

Murphy picked up his first career sack but finished with a season-low 38.9 overall grade. His struggles came primarily in run defense (46.5 grade), the most egregious error being when he lost contain on a Derrick Henry run late in the fourth quarter.

Pick No. 29: New Orleans Saints: DI Bryan Bresee

Overall Rookie Grade: 57.3 (Rank: 5/12)
Principal Opponent: Cody Mauch
Week 4 Snaps: 32
Week 4 Grade: 49.3

Week 4 was a mixed bag for Bresee. He picked up a sack and two run stops but also committed a penalty and was moved off the ball multiple times in run defense. Bresee’s total body of work is relatively average, though he certainly doesn’t look out of place.

Pick No. 30: Philadelphia Eagles: Edge Nolan Smith

Overall Rookie Grade: 40.0 (Rank: N/A)
Principal Opponent: Charles Leno Jr.
Week 4 Snaps: 9
Week 4 Grade: 27.6

Smith played just nine snaps, finishing Week 4 with a team-low 27.6 overall grade. He didn’t record any pressure on six pass-rush snaps. His shortcomings were a 24-yard catch allowed on his only coverage snap and an offside penalty.

Pick No. 31: Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Overall Rookie Grade: 61.2 (Rank: 6/13)
Principal Opponent: Mekhi Becton
Week 4 Snaps: 13
Week 4 Grade: 46.3

Anudike-Uzomah played a season-low 13 snaps on Sunday Night Football, struggling on his way to a season-low 46.3 grade. He made a hit on Zach Wilson among his 10 pass-rush snaps and allowed a 10-yard catch, albeit during a tough assignment dropping from his defensive end spot. He’ll see better days as the season goes on but could play fewer snaps in the short term with George Karlaftis emerging as the Chiefs' best edge rusher.


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